Tag Archives: hope

In search of new life?

Have you ever had two thoughts that at first glance seemed unrelated yet as the day progressed, they came together as one? Synchronicity as it is called happened to me today… Good Friday… and on LinkedIn no less. One individual with whom I have been following for some time on the social media site quoted Reverend Dr. Peola Hicks as saying, “Good Friday is a day of hope. It is a day where we look forward to a brighter tomorrow. Many things have happened to change the course of our lives, but it has not shaken our faith.” My response … ” I truly believe in this quote. Good Friday is a day in which we have an opportunity to turn over our heavy burdens to our Lord. When we do so, we have a chance to rise above those challenges and start life anew.”

Soon after I shared that one, a new, companion thought resonated within me as I read another post on the same site. It posed the question, “Why are so many Christian Marriages falling apart? What advice, scriptures, etc. would you give to fellow believers to keep their marriages together?”That question really resonated with me because, like many nowadays, my marriage failed many years ago after 17 years for a variety of reasons in spite of truly believing marriage was designed to be a sturdy, unbreakable ‘three stranded cord’ between man, woman and God. Further, I believed then as I do now that marriage is about giving not just receiving; it’s about compromise; and most of all… it is about being able to love and accept God, our spouse, and our selves unconditionally regardless of the obstacles placed before us. So if I believe all that, what exactly happened, you ask? Reality. Sinner or Saint, Christian or not, we are after all human. As humans, our bonds are challenged from time to time… and what better way is there to challenge our bond than with our own vulnerabilities? Our vulnerabilities come in many forms… from outside influences as well as from doubts, fears, and unrealistic expectations we bring to each of our relationships, including marriage, from day one. No matter how we try, those vulnerabilities get in the way, constantly gnawing at those “strands” over time.

It is our little doubts from time to time that start to add up and get in the way of feeling loved and accepted for who we truly are until we panic because we fear rejection. Little by little, it is our fear of rejection that breeds unrealistic expectations about our selves, distorting the actual bond we share with God and our life partner. Most of all… it is all those little unrealistic expectations that isolate us as we withhold our true thoughts and our feelings not only from our Creator, but from our life partner too. One by one, it is all those thoughts and feelings that eat away at us and the cord designed to bond us.

So what causes all of this to occur among us – including Christians? In a word… communication … or lack thereof. It is the lack of communication over time that prevents us from being open with and true to God, our life partner, and our selves, thereby weakening our once sturdy strands. While designed to bond us, our three-stranded cord is still no match for our free will. Just as we are free to tough it out, we are also free to walk away from it. Unfortunately, for many, myself included at one time, walking away when things get too tough is too easy of an option; far better than staying to face the depth of our challenges … many of which are of our own making. The truth is…should we stay to save our bond, we most likely discover it is those very challenges that test and strengthen that bond. Today is Good Friday. As with Jesus, God presents us with many difficult challenges during our lifetime. Over time, those challenges weigh very heavy on our shoulders. Proving to be our wooden cross, we bear it the best we can. Still.. we will no doubt stumble and fall many times, picking ourselves up each time as we try to move more forward.

What advice do I offer others who wish to keep their relationships alive? Communicate, communicate, communicate with all of your heart, mind, and spirit until you are raw and crying out to God and your life partner in pain. It is then I learned your bond with God and your life partner becomes most real. Most of all… have faith in the love that binds you. In rising above your challenges, you are given the most precious gift … a chance for a new life.

Have a good Friday and a very blessed Easter! ~ Theresa —)-@

Do You Believe in Second Chances?

The other night, Justin and I were talking about “second chances” and how blessed we are that our Lord gives us many of them  and not just two as the phrase would infer. As he spoke, it made me think about the series of heartbreaks I experienced over the years and how truly blessed I am now that I finally found love after three “second chances”.  Blessed not only because our Lord gave me three “second chances”, but blessed because he threw in a bonus — an opportunity to redefine and expand the meaning of family.  Like many, the first time out at love I was young and foolish. Not realizing I already had it, I gave it up for a “second chance”. I soon regretted that “second chance” as it eventually ended in divorce. When I finally opened my heart up to  the possibility of love again many years later, I was older, but still a bit foolish when it came to my second “second chance” with love.  Still young-at-heart and naive in many ways, I had feelings for my third love that I now know he never felt for me. The relationship eventually ran its course , ending with bad feelings on both sides. It wasn’t until I made a conscious decision to change myself  and my life rather than expecting the world to change for me that love finally came to me. Interestingly enough it finally came when I no longer pursued it. Since then I have truly appreciated its many forms.

Whether you’re an athlete (Tiger Woods, Michael Vick, Roger Clemens, or Alex Rodriguez), a politician (Elliot Spitzer, Gary Hart, or Richard Nixon), an ex con, drug addict, a single parent, or an “average Joe or Josephine” who said or did something they later regretted , we often hear the mantra, ‘everybody deserves a second chance.’ Is this really true? Should we always give another a second chance? Are there any circumstances where someone does not deserve a second chance? For example, when they said or did something deemed “unforgivable” for the umpteenth time. Or, should we always err on the side of forgiveness?

“Second chances” are not only about forgiveness and reconciliation; they are also about treating others in a way we too wish to be treated. For example, if you lost your savings and had to file for bankruptcy, wouldn’t you want a “second chance” to gain financial stability? If you lost your job at no fault of your own for the third time, wouldn’t you want a local employer to have enough faith in you to hire you? After going through a divorce, or a series of betrayals or abusive relationships, wouldn’t you want yet another chance to know lasting love? “Second chances” are about offering hope to those who only know of despair; unconditional love to those who only know anger, hatred, or indifference; trust to those who only know of betrayal; and abundance to those only knowing poverty. In real terms, it means providing programs that help ex-cons, drug addicts, and single parents who want to change their life in a positive direction find work and be able to stay on course. It means donating food and clothing the homeless and lower income individuals who find themselves without the necessary resources to sustain themselves; providing rehabilitation centers and transitional housing for those who need a chance to heal; and offering after-school programs to our at-risk youth who are in need of positive role models to turn their lives around.

Does everyone deserve a “second chance”? Absolutely. A third, fourth, and a million second chances too.  As Peter asked Jesus in Matthew 18:21-22, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” To that Jesus replied, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”  In doing so though it doesn’t mean you have to be stupid or naive about it. For example, if your son embezzles money from your business, a “second chance” may mean forgiveness and reconciliation so as to maintain a loving relationship with him. You do have to be smart enough about it though as to not hire him to do the books for your business. Or if a former love cheated on you, a “second chance” may mean to take a step back, learn from the mistakes you made in the relationship, and work through the issues so you have a chance to remain friends after the split. It doesn’t mean, however, you should renew a romance with him anytime soon.

What a “second chance” is really about is giving others what we want others to give us…. as many opportunites as it takes to learn and grow from our mistakes; a safe place to make whatever changes are needed to move our life in a positive direction; and most of all a chance to reclaim what we may have once had, to reach our full potential, and to become… the person God meant us to be.  So don’t save “second chances” for the holiday season. Rather, offer them up to all the lives you touch every day of the year.

Remember … touch a life today “The Little Way” by following the lead and need of others. Also, if you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my community, knew…”, then be sure to visit White Light Communications at http://www.tothewhitelight.com.

~ Theresa